A blast inside a mosque shook Pakistan’s Peshawar’ on Monday, with officials saying that at least 44 people were killed and 157 were injured.
Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistan Taliban (Tahreek-e-Taliban, or TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The leading spokesman for the armed group was not immediately available for comment.
The mosque is located inside a highly fortified compound that includes the headquarters of the provincial police force and a counterterrorism department.
Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsood told Dawn that a rescue operation was underway inside the mosque as several people were buried under the rubble.
“An emergency has been imposed at hospitals across the city, and injured persons are being provided the best medical facilities,” the senior official said.
The official account for the PML-N said PM Shehbaz had arrived in Peshawar. He condemned the bombing and ordered authorities to ensure the best possible medical treatment for the victims. He promised “stern action” against those behind the attack.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to condemn the attack.
“Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in police lines mosque Peshawar during prayers,” he tweeted.
“It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering and properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”